Woman Alive editor, Tola Doll Fisher first left Facebook, then Twitter, and finally Instagram. She defends her choice to go against the majority and shares why the decision has proved beneficial.


Source: Photo by Thought Catalog / Pexels

I first came off Facebook about a decade ago. I was dealing with a difficult break up and grieving over the loss of a family member. Photos of the former and the new life he was living, along with memories of the latter, was not the combination I needed for a healthy mental state.

Like many before me, I soon went back when I realised I was missing out on the “likes” and affirmations from my thousands of “friends”. I justified my return because it was the one platform that helped me connect with people from my past (some of whom, in hindsight, should have remained there) and in any case, what kind of journalist would I be if I didn’t keep up to date with the riveting stuff happening in other peoples’ lives? A bad one, I reckoned.

Like many before me, I soon went back when I realised I was missing out on the “likes” and affirmations from my thousands of “friends”.

Five years ago I completely deleted my FB account and never went back. It took me a bit longer to get rid of Twitter (RIP) and Instagram. For a long time, every journalist had to be on Twitter. A media platform moonlighting as a news outlet and first to break stories albeit often from a random account as opposed to an official media one. But I found it harder to grow a community on Twitter and those I saw doing it well were often putting out pithy – and sometimes quite damning - one liners that others would grab onto and retweet. I didn’t want to be a mean girl and I preferred being amusing in person. I left Twitter circa 2019.

And then I was left with Instagram. A friend introduced me to the image-led platform because of my love for photography. I quickly realised how much it satisfied both my work passions of modelling and journalism. Not only did I have more space than on Twitter to share my thoughts, I could also spam my grid with the many photos collected on and off shoots. IG should have been my social media soulmate, but the people pleaser in me would panic immediately after posting something because what if no one liked it? I genuinely think this platform helped develop my first full experience of anxiety.

Sure I had some so-called “wins” on social media in terms of following and engagement. When my daughter died shortly after birth, I posted a link to an article I wrote immediately after the experience; when my North London pad was featured on apartment therapy; when my first book was published; when my TEDx Talk was released. People flocked to give me a big thumbs up, I received more hearts than I ever did on Valentine’s Day and my phone simply wouldn’t stop buzzing as comment after comment declared me a success. An irony indeed since both my book and TEDx focused on debunking the myth of success.

In 2020, the year my book was published, I was all over the gram. My publisher encouraged me to do as much online stuff as possible to make up for the fact I wasn’t able to do any of the in person events or book tour planned. I became obsessed with Instagram Lives and started a series of interviews including the famous but short lived “Conversations with my Ex” in which I invited an ex to come on and talk with me about where it went wrong between us. (Tell me you’re an over sharer without telling me you’re an over sharer.)

In 2021, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, rushed into surgery and given three blood transfusions to counter the hefty blood loss during the operation. I was then put on a baffling concoction of medication and had to inject myself for a month to ward off blood clots. But none of it worked. In June of that same year I started a gruelling treatment of chemotherapy. My hair fell out, my body became marked and bruised, I lost partial hearing in one ear and I was constantly nauseous. None of this made me want to post on an image-led platform. And I was angry at God because a long-awaited dream of becoming a published author had so quickly descended into chaos and depression.

Because I am a socialite and also somewhat of a content junkie, I never wanted to miss out on what was going on around me and social media told me what was happening, where and at what discount.

Amidst the prayers of many friends, family and Woman Alive readers (thank you!) I was able to focus on my mental health and I sensed God prompt me to begin monitoring how I felt after I had spent any time online. Because I am a socialite and also somewhat of a content junkie, I never wanted to miss out on what was going on around me and social media told me what was happening, where and at what discount. Three of my favourite things. But the more I scrolled, the more the now termed “doom scrolling” kicked in. Everyone looked better than me, everyone was doing better than me – everyone was better than me. And it just made me sad. I realised that because I try to live as authentically as possible, what I was posting on social media was more or less the “real me” and so if I didn’t feel great, not only did I not feel I had anything worth sharing, I also felt completely out of any self-worth. I pulled the plug on IG just over two years ago and have not missed my old friend at all.

The Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging was for me, a revelation about the damaging way I, personally, interacted with social media. And I’m aware that’s not the case for everyone. Plenty of people are able to have healthy relationships with various platforms without having any negative lasting impact (I’m guessing?). Me? Not so much.

People often ask me if I get FOMO and the answer is honestly, not really. I only got FOMO when I had an account but wasn’t looking at it 24 hours a day. I can’t really miss out on the unknown if the unknown is well, unknown.

Yes, social media has its benefits and there are many Christians and Christian ministries successfully using them as evangelism tools; some of which we have shared here at Woman Alive. And I know that there are talented individuals who have managed to grow their own communities which has led to them getting their dream job.

So will I ever go back? Well, never say never. But for now, I’m happily consuming my “content” offline.